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Art School: Deciding if It's for You - and Making the Most of it.

What about the matter of art school? If you want to get into an artistic career, how can you be sure that going to art school will be beneficial to you and the way that you work? Or – if you have already gone through art school, how can you make your education continue to work for you?


A photograph of the exterior of Toronto's OCADU


Be a Self Starter.


Many other university programs lead directly into jobs, but there is a huge amount of options for what you can do with a fine arts degree. Getting an art degree doesn't necessarily mean you want to become a studio artist, but if you do, it's important to be able to motivate yourself and seek out career opportunities. Become an artist is rarely as simple as sending in a resume and a job application.  Explore different ways of working, but stay true to a method of art-making that really works for you, outside if the requirements for assignments. Document your work, have a varied portfolio, and start creating an active online presence as soon as possible.


What Do You Want?


Art is a difficult thing to teach because there are no right or wrong answers - depending on what school you go to or what courses you take, art school can help improve your techincal skills, or teach you concepts, theory and history surrounding art. Generally speaking, the former applies to smaller technical institutes, whereas the latter will be found more in larger art universities and colleges. If you are looking to become a skilled realistic illustrator, a special-effects sculptor, animator or any number of other vocations where technical skill would be paramount, you may be better off looking into a specialized institute. If you want to become a contemporary artist and show your work in galleries, or if you want to produce writing or critique, or focus on history, a larger art university may be for you.


Using your Degree


After you finish art school, if you decide you want to pursue a career in the arts, try to keep building on that knowledge and keeping it current. It's really great to know your art history, as well as keep up with contemporary trends and artists. As an artist yourself, it's good to know where your fellow art-makers are going in their practices, what's popular, and where to situate your work in art history. If you keep working and gaining knowledge, you may even decide that you want to go into a Master's degree program!



About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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